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Two manufacturing projects promise more than 150 new jobs

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Maria del Refugio Mireles works on a sewing machine at Southwest Creations Collaborative. The collaborative is moving to the 22,000-square-foot Social Enterprise Center on Isleta Boulevard. (Courtesy Southwest Creations Collaborative)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Monday, officials and community leaders celebrated two economic development projects focused on the manufacturing sector that are expected to bring more than 150 jobs to the area in coming years.
In the South Valley, the non-profit Partnership for Community Action officially announced the creation of a 22,000-square-foot Social Enterprise Center on Isleta Boulevard.
The building’s anchor tenant will be the Southwest Creations Collaborative, an Albuquerque nonprofit that employs 36 women in an industrial cut-and-sew factory and uses some of the proceeds from those operations to fund several social services.
The project was funded by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, a $1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and support from several other organizations.
PCA and Southwest Creations estimate the center — which will include a manufacturing area, offices and conference rooms, educational facilities and a childcare center — will provide 77 new jobs. They estimate the center will help train more than 250 childcare providers over the next nine years through its home-based childcare network program.
“This is about reinvesting in a community that has long been divested from,” said Javier Martinez, PCA’s executive director.
Susan Matteucci, executive director of Southwest Creations, said she had long wanted to collaborate on such a project, but the issue took on additional urgency a year ago when she learned the building that houses the manufacturing operation would be sold.
A few miles away near the Los Volcanes neighborhood, Gov. Susana Martinez participated in the ground breaking of a $7 million expansion of Vitality Works, which manufactures vitamin and homeopathic products.
Martinez said in a statement that the expansion is indicative of the state’s efforts to “make New Mexico a great place to do business.”
The project was supported by $550,000 from state Local Economic Development Act funding, tied to a promise of 80 new jobs created by the company.
Vitality Works was also approved for up to about $133,000 in Job Training Incentive Program reimbursement for training associated with 33 jobs. Also, the company received a $7 million industrial revenue bond package from Bernalillo County, which acts as a property tax abatement mechanism.
Vitality Works CEO Mitch Coven said in a statement that the state’s economic development tools have helped the company grow in New Mexico.
“We look forward to continuing to give back to the Albuquerque community,” he said.

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